Anshu Arora LLM, MSc, PMP

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Turks and Caicos Travel Guide

The islands' peak tourism periods occur during major holiday months, especially December through January and March through April (the islands are popular with Easter and spring break crowds). During these months, the prices are higher and the islands are more crowded, but the weather is especially pleasant.Still, many consider springtime (February through April) the best time to visit Turks and Caicos because visitors are met with the ideal combination of good weather, lower pricing, and plenty of availability. Shy away from holiday weekends to find the best deals.

The U.S. dollar is the primary currency used on the islands and English is the predominant language. The islands have U.S.-style power plugs (120v, 60Hz electricity) so no power adapters are necessary.International flights arrive in Turks and Caicos from 11 countries: the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Antigua, Puerto Rico, and the British Virgin Islands. All flights arrive at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS); from there, visitors can board either Caicos Express or InterCaribbean for inter-island travel. Both offer daily flights.

The different areas of Turks and Caicos are broken up across the archipelago with 40 different islands and cays, but only eight are the main inhabited islands. They're separated into two island groups: the Turks Islands (Grand Turk and Salt Cay) to the east of the Turks Island Passage and the Caicos Islands (South Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales, Pine Cay, and Parrot Cay) to the west. 

Providenciales: Locally known as "Provo," 38-square-mile Providenciales is the most developed and populated of the islands and is the hub of tourism and hotels. It's home to Grace Bay Beach, often referred to as "the world's best beach," and Providenciales International Airport (PLS). Grace Bay is one of the most central and commercialized areas of the islands.

North Caicos: Half of the "twin islands" of North and Middle Caicos (connected to Middle Caicos by a causeway, so the two pretty much function as one), North Caicos is the second-largest island. It's a 30-minute ferry ride from Providenciales, making it popular for day trips. The only hotel on North Caicos is the family-owned boutique Pelican Beach Hotel.

Middle Caicos: Middle Caicos makes up the other half of the "twin islands" and is the largest island in Turks and Caicos, but is sparsely populated, with only about 275 residents. Visitors go to Middle Caicos to check out Indian Cave and Conch Bar Cave. Dragon Cay Resort, which has five Caribbean-style cottages, three villas, and an onsite restaurant overlooking the Mudjin Harbor, is the only resort-style accommodation option on Middle Caicos.

South Caicos: Located a 90-minute ferry ride or 20-minute flight from Providenciales, South Caicos is 18 square miles and beloved for its great fishing, birdwatching, snorkeling, and scuba diving. There are some luxury accommodations available on South Caicos and it is one of the less commercialized islands, with lots of untouched land and wildlife.

Grand Turk: Grand Turk is home to the capital of Turks and Caicos, Cockburn Town, and is the second most populous island in the chain. Visitors love Grand Turk for its heritage, culture, and rustic charm as well as its diving. Founded by settlers in the late 1600s, Cockburn Town was the historic center of the island, though now most of the government and commerce activities take place in Providenciales.

Salt Cay: For a rugged experience off the beaten path, Salt Cay is the answer: there are no paved roads and only 80 residents call this tiny island home (it clocks in at just under three square miles). People get around via golf cart and there are remnants of the island's salt-industry past all over. It's also the best place for whale watching in the Turks and Caicos islands.

The weather in Turks and Caicos is generally hot and dry, with 350 days of sunshine in an average year. Summers are hot and the waters are at their warmest, while November through May is a bit more mild, though there's not a huge distinction between seasons in Turks and Caicos. Hurricanes are possible between June and November during the Atlantic hurricane season, but rarely hit Turks and Caicos.

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